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My First Nib Grind Experiment


Venemo
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I've been quite dissatisfied with the nib of my Parker 51. It had some sort of a broad nib, maybe a factory oblique, maybe worn out, maybe ground by someone. We'll never know.

 

I had two issues with it:

  • This shape was probably never meant for left-handed use.
  • The nib had a very narrow sweet spot and produced extreme skipping and scratchiness outside it.
  • It was too broad for my taste.

If you look at the pictures, you can see that it had this weird angled surface at the end of its tipping. That surface was the sweet spot.

 

post-107785-0-44556200-1423226743.jpg

post-107785-0-75724600-1423226750.jpg

 

So I took the plunge and decided to do something about it. I went into an OBI shop to buy some grinding stuff - unfortunately, the finest they had was K1200. Anyway, I thought I'd experiment with more, so I bought a K240, K600 and K1200. I took off the hood (fortunately I hadn't sealed it yet) and took out the nib for a ride. B)

 

K240 was useless, probably too rough to do anything to the nib.

K600 was quite nice - I could very quickly grind away the angled surface and make the two tines equally large. After that, I flattened the top and bottom a bit, just enough to give a little line variation, but I wouldn't dare call it italic.

At this point, the nib felt already better and didn't skip anymore. But it was very scratchy.

 

I grabbed the K1200 paper and started to polish it. First I just stroked it on the grinding surface, then I inserted it into the collector and started moving it as if I was writing with it. Finally, I put together the pen, filled with some ink, and tested it. Then I polised some more, writing actual words on the K1200 paper. (Ink could be wiped off from it with just a paper tissue.)

 

Here's how it looks:

 

post-107785-0-96044700-1423227271_thumb.jpg

post-107785-0-20900800-1423227263_thumb.jpg

 

As a result, I no longer have any issues writing with it left-handedly. The nib has a new sweet spot which is much wider than before and now fits the way I hold the pen. I guess I could still make it even better if I had more patience and an even finer piece of polishing paper.

 

Here are some thoughts for anyone that wants to try it at home. :)

  • Only do this to pens that you wouldn't feel very sorry about, should you ruin the nib.
  • Be very careful. You can't grow back what you ground off.
  • You really don't need to apply much pressure.
  • Grinding paper is probaly not the right tool, but it can do the job.
  • The finer grinding surface you can use, the smoother your nib will be.

 

Thanks for reading! If you have any advice on how to do it even better, I'm always curious to know more.

 

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Mylar paper (1 and 0.3 microns) would probably give it a glassy smooth finish, if you're into that sort of thing.

 

And always start with the finest grit. Yes, it'll take a while more but at least you'll err on the side of caution.

 

 

~Epic

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A sincere man am I
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And I want before I die
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All those moments will be lost in time.
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Time to die.

 

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Mylar paper (1 and 0.3 microns) would probably give it a glassy smooth finish, if you're into that sort of thing.

 

And always start with the finest grit. Yes, it'll take a while more but at least you'll err on the side of caution.

 

 

~Epic

 

Thanks for the advice!

Where can I get mylar paper in Europe?

Edited by Venemo
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Hi, the two possible ways to go are either optical fibre connector polishing/lapping film (so called Mylar abrasive) these sheets are quite stiff, and to you risk a flat spot or poor control of the nib. You can soften this slightly by putting the sheet on a softer surface (a rubber sheet is used for optical fibres, but it can be few layers of paper towel, or fabric). The alternative is Micromesh;

Both are available on fleabay, search for "lapping film" or its Italian equivalent. I see these on UK ebay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-sheets-5-micron-brown-3M-PSA-adhesive-backed-lapping-film-scary-sharpening-/350859232589?pt=UK_Crafts_Other_Crafts_EH&hash=item51b0d7054d

Micromesh example

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Micro-Mesh-Micromesh-Cushioned-Abrasive-Polishing-Kit-9-Sheets-6-X-3-/141537027944?pt=UK_Crafts_Other_Crafts_EH&hash=item20f443a768

and an enterprising chap in the US has combined the two

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FOUNTAIN-PEN-NIB-POLISHING-KIT-EVERYTHING-YOU-NEED-/330863696870?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d09035be6

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Sand paper no matter how fine you think it is....is not the way to go. Micro=mesh and lapping paper is.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Sand paper no matter how fine you think it is....is not the way to go. Micro=mesh and lapping paper is.

 

I know. Have been searching for that stuff for a while, but can't find any in my country, that's why I finally restorted to sandpaper. I'm still searching, so once I find something suitable, I'll continue polishing the nib. :)

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Richard Binder and Gullet(sp) pens sells kits with micro-mesh and lapping film.

US post is very expensive.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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